Wine & Dine: Rowdy Hall

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Everybody knows that Rowdy Hall in East Hampton is the place to go for a great burger. But the Main Street stalwart, which just celebrated its 20th anniversary, also does a heck of a gourmet spread. During a recent visit, I had one of the best meals I’ve ever had out East. Clearly, chef Ed Lightcap knows his way around a kitchen.

I started with a gorgeous glass of Iona Sauvignon Blanc, recommended by General Manager James Weir, who was super duper attentive and awesome and did an extraordinary job of curating the entire incredible tasting meal experience for me. Thanks a million James!

For apps, a trio of tastings appeared–Serrano Ham Croquetas with Pimenton Aioli; Shrimp Corn Dogs with Honey Sriracha Dipping Sauce; and the Duck “Banh Mi” Wontons with Duck Confit, Soy Honey Glaze and Pickled Vegetables. The Croquetas–fluffy mashed potatoes with chive and chopped ham in a crispy fried shell and served with a super mild chipotle mayo–were absolutely yummy. The Shrimp Corn Dogs–just as the name implies–were inventive and tasty and a fun elevated take on a carnival-type classic. But it was the Duck Wontons starter that really got me. They  were out-of-this-world delicious! Confit is a huge time-consuming preparation but it really pays off. This take–featuring perfectly cooked and shredded duck topped with plentiful julienned carrots and sweet hoisin sauce, all in a fried banh mi-inspired shell–was so well balanced and refined, yet it could easily just be enjoyed as a really outstanding pub grub staple too. The dish was like a little appetizer hug for your tummy.

For main coursing, I had the Fluke Meuniere with Baby Vegetables and Parsley Potatoes and the Butternut Squash Lasagna with Creamed Spinach, Sundried Tomato Vinaigrette and Crispy Leeks. Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! I couldn’t stop eating either of them. Flipping fantastic! The perfectly cooked Fluke (right-out-of-the-water fresh and local-caught), delicately battered and served in a light brown butter sauce with delicious pattypan squash and fingerling potatoes, was super buttery and tender. Every bite was heaven. And then there was the vegetarian Lasagna–an explosion of beautiful and bold flavor. I was crazy tempted by the colorful visual and the savory aroma before I even took my first bite. OMG! Amazing!  So many layers of great tastes and textures. There’s so much going on but man does it really work!!

Then there were the desserts. Holy cow! Rachel (Cronemeyer) Flatley, who does the desserts here and at Nick & Toni’s, La Fondita and Townline BBQ, can absolutely do no wrong. Finishing the meal in superfine fettle were the Campfire Brownie Sundae–a Warm Brownie with Toasted Marshmallow Ice Cream Graham Cracker & Dark Chocolate Cremeux– and the Halsey Farm Apple Sticky Cake–a Cinnamon Spice Cake Glazed in a Maple Brown Butter Sauce Served with Halsey Farm Apples & Whipped Cream. From the homemade “graham cracker” shortbread to the dehydrated apple chips served alongside the best damn sticky apple cake I’ve ever had in my entire life!!!, every single component here was made with loving care. It was like my birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas all rolled into one. Yowsa!!

Totally blown away by the entire experience, I’m just going to say it. Rowdy Hall, with its house-made everything, might just be the best English pub in America.

Rowdy Hall is open seven days a week serving lunch from noon to 3:30 p.m., a midday menu from 3:30 to 5 p.m., and dinner Sunday through Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m. and on Fridays and Saturdays from from 5 to 11 p.m. For additional information, call the restaurant at (631) 324-8555.

* Please pardon the terrible photos. They are the result of an iPhone on its last legs, and definitely do not do the incredible food true justice. Apologies. 

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